Tuesday, June 30, 2009

So incredibly thankful

Honestly, I'm thankful for many, many things. But today, I'm especially thankful that it won't be 100 degrees again. And so is my family, since they have to live with me ;) Projected is 86 degrees. I can handle that. I'll sit in the shade.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Still HOT here. . . .

Today, it was 100 degrees in my immediate neighborhood, with temps of 109 in neighborhoods 45 minutes away. Doesn't this just seem too hot for mammalian survival? I know I'm a huge heat-wimp, but come on! Even desert animals bury themselves in that kind of heat. We simply don't have enough basements in my neck of the woods to do that properly
(DARN those fault lines!).
Am considering a move to Alaska. . . .
We did have a fabulous breakfast with family friends who we have not seen in far too long. We then hung out at their house for a couple hours--they have air-conditioning and insisted :) Plus, they fed us watermelon. Awesome. If we can just get through tomorrow, the temps are supposed to drop by a few degrees each day until we have a slightly more bearable 85 or so in a few days. I can't wait.
Meanwhile, we'll go grocery shopping tomorrow, and to the library. I don't "do" malls unless I absolutely have to, so that's not an option. But the book-loaded, climate-controlled library. . . .ahhhh, that sounds fabulous right about now. . . .
So for dinner--always a challenge on days this hot--we had Taco Salad. As long as you have the ingredients on hand, it's simple--with a minimum of cooking. Here's how I do it:
Cook either 1 lb. ground meat or a meat substitute (we use 1 package Quorn crumbles, a soy-free meat alternative), using olive oil if you use a substitute. Sprinkle in a good amount of chili powder and garlic to season it up. Add a little ketchup for a really good "mouth-feel". Mix it up well. When cooked, take off heat and let cool. While it's cooling, place in very large bowl the following: chopped iceberg or Romaine lettuce (since this isn't the most nutritious, I also add lots of dark leafy greens, but you need the "stiffer" lettuce to build the salad), chopped purple or green onions, diced tomatoes and chopped black olives. Toss it around. Fold in diced avocadoes and lots of shredded cheddar cheese. Add the cooled meat/substitute and toss with a sweet, tomatoey French dressing, such as the following (from The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn):
2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste--may use other sweetener)
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
salt to taste
1 - 2 cloves garlic (1-2 tsp. of garlic powder)
2 Tbl. finely minced onion (I used a grater, and it was perfect)
Mix all ingredients by hand, shake in a sealed jar, or whiz briefly in blender (reserving onion to mix in by hand). Refrigerate any leftovers. Makes 2 cups.
Mix everything well, and sprinkle crushed tortilla chips over each serving. Yuuummm. Hits the spot on a day like this!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


It's nearly 100 degrees outside today. The weather here is so funny: one day it might be in the 70's, the next, 20 degrees hotter. Or colder. Makes it difficult to acclimate, although, being a confirmed heat-wimp, I NEVER acclimate to these temps. Ugh, I'm just miserable. We've been sitting in the living room with a fan blowing on us, watching TV On-Demand. I'm actually pretty darn grateful we have both :) Sleeping tonight will be fun! <------- that's sarcasm, for those of you who didn't pick up on it.
Gonna go make some iced tea and check on my elderly cat.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

On my mind. . . .

So many, many things to blog about--so very little time. Some things on my mind lately:
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. The hubby and I watched this the other day. We let our four year old watch with us. My finger was on the controls in case of a yucky part, but we were all OK with everything--that doesn't often happen in a video these days! What a great movie! There was some fantasy (it's a magical toy shop, after all), but I believe in magic. I believe God put magic, some magic, into our lives because He can. If you don't think there is magic in a baby's first smile, or the first blossom of spring, or a Golden Retriever puppy, or an amazing chocolate truffle--well, perhaps something inside you is just not functioning properly :) You know when the magic starts to get defiling, if you listen to your gut. This movie had a good lesson for all of us, but wasn't "preachy". It also had a sad part, which is obvious if you read the label and see that Mr. Magorium leaves his shop to a young lady because he's, well, leaving. As in permanently. It was tastefully done--my four year old didn't actually know when it happened. Now, the movie was funny and very visually interesting, so don't let this one thing stop you from watching it.
The weather: Summer has finally decided to grace us with it's presence. Every single year, people around me are "stunned" that it's so cold in June. Well, it happens every single year, folks--why are you surprised? It's called "June Gloom", and it stays around for all of June and usually we are wearing coats for the 4th of July fireworks. Then, in July, August, September and parts of October, it gets hot-hot-hot. Around Halloween, we all put our coats back on (which can really mess up your Halloween costume, believe me).
Food: This is always near to my heart--I'm with Paula Deen, food is fun! Lately, I've been making my own buttermilk (which has finally turned out GREAT), and using it in lots of recipes, even when it's not called for. I use it in place of milk or water, and the results so far have been delicious. I've also made sourdough bread (complete with homemade sourdough starter), with varying results, pickles (also with varying results), and kombucha (always yummy). I'm getting into the whole "agrarian" lifestyle, and would like to grow a huge garden soon. We are currently gardening in pots, and the results have been--you guessed it--varying. One type of tomato is putting out (Stupice), but the others are slow-going. See comments on weather :) The strawberries are disappointing, and the cukes died :( The green beans are ok, but I planted "only" 6 plants, and they so far haven't put out enough for us to make a meal. Sigh. I suppose I should read up on this a little more before I do this next year.
Jon and Kate + 8: Is anyone else sick, sick, sick of hearing about this family? Kate should read The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands and be completely honest with herself: she's not doing everything for the kids; if she were, she'd quit the show, fix her marriage, and let them be kids again. She's not stupid, but neither are we: those kids couldn't care less about getting $$$ for college, or going to see all the wonderful sights they've seen so far. They just want mommy and daddy to be home, and stop fighting and be a happy family. You know it, I know it, and Kate knows it, too. Jon's no angel, but he's been asking for an end to this madness for months, and wants his life back. So what's stopping Kate? Money--pure and simple. It's difficult to lay aside the million dollar house, the new clothes, the hair, the lifestyle. But lay it aside they must--FOR THE KID'S SAKE. Case closed.
Wee little kids doing beauty pagents: This is vomit-inducing to me. Mothers, fathers, wake up--you're killing your kids emotionally, no matter how much they "just love to do it!". They'd love to eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner, too, but only a dork would let them do that.
My own wee one just got up--motherhood calls!